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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. THOMPSON v. THOMPSON (03/24/72)

decided: March 24, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. THOMPSON, APPELLANT,
v.
THOMPSON



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, May T., 1971, No. 708, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Iva S. Thompson v. Charles E. Thompson.

COUNSEL

Fred T. Cadmus, III, with him Cadmus, Good and Patten, for appellant.

C. Richard Morton, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 220 Pa. Super. Page 401]

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County denying the petition of Iva S. Thompson for support from her husband, Charles E. Thompson.

The court below denied support on the ground that she failed to justify her leaving so that it amounted to unlawful desertion. The appellant contends that the court below abused its discretion in so finding.

A wife need not prove grounds for divorce but merely reasonable grounds for separating from her husband in order to be entitled to support. Commonwealth v. Cooper, 183 Pa. Superior Ct. 36, 128 A.2d 181 (1956).

It is, of course, the rule that the appellate court will not interfere with the determination of the hearing Judge in a support matter unless there has been a clear abuse of discretion. Commonwealth ex rel. Reddick v. Reddick, 198 Pa. Superior Ct. 111, 181 A.2d 896 (1962).

The wife's testimony as to her reasons for leaving were corroborated by her sister and falls into two categories: (1) the question of physical assault and her fear of her husband and (2) the matter of his attempt to take pictures in the nude while the parties were in bed having intercourse and his attempted familiarities with her sister. A careful examination of this record indicates she had reasonable grounds for separating from her husband.

[ 220 Pa. Super. Page 402]

She testified that her husband struck her on several occasions and she was afraid to stay in the home. They were living apart for sometime in the home as far as marital relations were concerned and she explains her delay in leaving after the last assault to be her inability to find a place to live. Her testimony as to two strikings. Once when she turned down the radio he told her to "Keep your goddamn hands off the radio." Another assault was described as "karate chops". She was treated by a physician for the January, 1971 assault. The testimony of the wife and sister involved alleged familiarities with the appellant's sister which included his grabbing her and feeling her bust. The wife also testified, corroborated by her sister, of an incident where she found her husband had crawled in bed with the sister and she and the sister forced him out.

The husband, according to both witnesses, suggested that the sister take pictures of the husband and wife in the nude having intercourse. He also ...


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